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Kick your Mac screaming into the world of Windows with Boot Camp

It boots Windows and it's a little bit camp - it's Apple Boot Camp!

Apple have released a beta version of a tool that allows owners of Intel Macs to partition their hard drive and install Windows XP with all the appropriate drivers (it even includes a driver for the eject and brightness keys :). You need a single disc installer for Windows XP. Apple won't sell you that!

Mac firmware already includes a boot manager so it's easy to choose MacOS X or Windows XP on startup.

Apparently it's planned as a regular feature in Leopard (MacOS X 10.5) and the current version is beta. I think it will be almost all positive but it's an interesting move from Apple. It will be fun to see what the overall outcome is. One reason I can imagine that Apple has gone this route is to remove one of the reasons why people would want to run MacOS X on generic Intel hardware.

Something that strikes me looking at the screenshot is that Windows people who try it out will wonder why things like disk partitioning and boot switching have been such an ugly pain on Wintel machines when it can be so smooth and easy as this process seems to be.

Press release: Apple Introduces Boot Camp Public Beta Software Enables Intel-based Macs to Run Windows XP.

Main page: Boot Camp Public Beta Macs do Windows, too.

Setup documentation: Boot Camp Beta Installation & Setup Guide.

Om Malik's commentary: MacXP.

It wouldn't be Apple if they didn't stick the boot into a competitor's misfortune/stupidity:

Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries.

One problem they haven't worked around smoothly is the hardware clock - Windows expects the hardware clock to be the time where you are right now whereas MacOS X (like other Unix OSs) expects the hardware clock to be in UTC (aka GMT) time and the OS takes care of timezone related issues. Hard to see a way around that unless you provided OS context sensitive code in the EFI firmware (which could be nasty).

10:40 PM, 05 Apr 2006 by Mark Aufflick Permalink

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